Dismissed for three and two in the first two games, it has not been an ideal start to the new season of the IPL for Rohit Sharma. Sunday’s game was all the more frustrating for the Mumbai Indians skipper as first he was at the receiving end of a bad decision and then got reprimanded by the match referee for reacting to the umpire’s call.
His team, though, did well to pull off a win against Kolkata Knight Riders from a near-hopeless situation. However, there’s no denying how much the batting line-up is dependent on Rohit. He is the most prolific batsman in their ranks, topping their run charts.
Given the blink-and-you-miss-it nature of the tournament, no team can afford to take time to settle down. And, Mumbai Indians will need all players to be at their best on Wednesday when they are up against the team to beat --- defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Starting with a bang with two easy wins, the defending champions have looked even more menacing than in the last edition.
The spotlight will be on Rohit in Wednesday’s tie, as it will be his 100th game in MI shirt. So far, he has rattled 2,709 runs, the most by an MI batsman, at a strike rate of 131.25.
Given the numbers, it’s only a matter of time before Rohit gets going. But, the onus is on the captain to give himself the best chance to succeed.
Rohit is the most devastating opener in the country in the shorter formats of the game, so the obvious question is why not play at his preferred position? In the first match of IPL10, Rohit batted at No 3 and in the second at No 4. Both positions have not worked.
After the last game, coach Mahela Jayawardene put it down to bringing in the element of surprise. “It’s just a decision that we took tactically. We can’t play according to the same patterns we have used in the past. Teams tend to target Rohit and put a lot of pressure on the other guys as well. Rohit is coming back from an injury, so we just need to slowly get him involved.
“You might be surprised, as in some of the games he might open the batting. It is not an easy tournament if you see the opposition that we played today and have to play in the upcoming days and after that. So, we need to have that bit of surprise element, going forward,” Jayawardene had said.
Sunrisers have yet to win at the Wankhede Stadium in their two visits, but they will be buoyed by the arrival of Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman. The home team batsmen will be wary of Afghanistan’s leg-spin sensation Rashid Khan.
In the MI corner, with the seasoned Lasith Malinga looking sharp in his first outing, Rohit will also be confident of his bowling options. Being his 100th IPL game too, Malinga will be out to make it special.